Long time readers of TechZim will remember uHuruTV. We covered these guys (VIVA Mobile) back in 2016 when they wanted to launch and become Zimbabwe’s first Virtual Mobile Network Operator (MVNO). In another show of bureaucracy and perennial failing they got bogged in the regulatory process but in the process they launched an IPTV service called uHuruTV.
They are still alive and kicking
Many a business has succumbed to Zimbabwe’s economic quagmires and there are a lot of companies that were around in 2016 that are now just part of history. When I visited the uhurutv website I was not sure of what to expect. I created an account and saw the payment options seemed not to be working. I used their WhatsApp number (they are also active on their Facebook page) and got in touch.
A friendly representative responded to my message in less than ten minutes with instructions on how to activate my service. There were two options s/he said:
- Purchase one of their pre-configured set top boxes which is available on the site
- Download an App and install it on my own device
Because I already have a box I decided to go with option two.
How to get uhurutv on your device
I already have a TV Box with the specifications that I like so buying the uhurutv set top box was not an option that I wanted to take so I went with option 2. It is a bit technical though most people should be fine unless you are the sort of person who pays someone to put internet settings on your phone.
The following steps are required if you want to use you own device ( this works on phones and tablets as well):
- Download the StbEmu app in the Google Play store or alternatively from APK Pure. Here is where it gets tricky there are two versions of this app in the play store a free version and a paid version. I chose the free version.
- Once the app has finished installing, open it and select configure
- Edit the profile and make sure the following settings are in effect: that the port is not internal i.e disable internal port, enable Ministra support under STB configuration, in Advanced settings make sure “fix links to local files ” and fix AJAX support are enabled, Under portal settings enter http://126.96.36.199/stalker_portal/c as the port URL and again make sure Internal port is not selected
- Select the hamburger menu and select reload portal
- If you give it time you should see a login screen. Get in touch with the guys at uhuru to get a username and password. email: firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp 08644201943 they will also send you a Paynow link which you can use to complete payment.
- Once you have these enter your username and password onto the portal login page
- With the StbEmu app you will need to exit after login for the first time and relaunch the app
uhuru will blow your mind
There are 250+ channels you can watch using this service. That is a mind bending number that even DSTV cannot match. The portal allows you to browse channels by categories. Under general entertainment there are channels such as Sky Movies HD (9 channels covering everything from Action to Romance), ITV (5 channels). There is a solitary Nollywood channel ( I have never really cared for these and my wife asks for the occasional iRoku subscription every other 6 months which I deliberately “forget” to pay).
It is under sports where uhuru really excels. You get the Sky Sports News Channel that Supersport Blitz viewers are familiar with but there is much more. There is Sky Sports Premier League, Sky Sports News HQ, Sky Sports Football, Sky Sports Cricket, Sky Sports Action, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Mix, Sky Sports F1, BT Sport 1-3, BT Sport Europe, Eurosport 1-3, NBC Golf, MLB, TSN 1-5, AFN, Fox Sports 1 & 2 and lots of others. The amount of sports available here will make your head explode.
Sports range from the usual EPL, MLS, BundesLiga, to cricket on Willow TV and Sky Cricket, basketball, baseball, Rugby, F1, Motorsport, Skiing, Hockey, Ice Hockey and to weird things such as old people athletics and even darts. Seriously are there really people who watch darts? If you have a horse fetish you can also watch the races, God Bless your heart. They even have channels where Americans dress up and throw around a ball yet call the sport football. It’s called the NFL I think.
If you are a Music Lover there is MTV in all its forms including Base. If you are an EPL sycophant with your love only reserved for one team then there are plenty of self glory channels for the most popular teams including LFCTV, MUTV and Chelsea TV. Cartoons are covered by the available Disney and Nickelodeon channels.
You need real internet here
uhuru does seem to have everything for everyone so what’s the catch? The service is reasonably priced at $14.95/month, they even accept bonds, RTGS, Ecocash and even Telecash. The catch is you need real internet if the service is to work. I have a nominal 2 Mbps connection at home and all the HD channels would not play smoothly. In fact the picture would freeze quite a lot.
You will need at least 2 Mbps if you want to sample the SD (normal quality) content and 4 Mbps for the HD channels. I would strongly recommend at least 5 Mbps if you do not want to run into problems. That means Wibroniks or Fibre but here is the thing, if you want to watch during the afternoon you should be aware that most ISPs shape their traffic.
uhuru uses about 500Mb per Hour SD and 800Mb per Hour HD
I strongly suspect that this is x264 encoding at work on the webcasting source here. Whoever is in charge of the tech needs to really look into x265 or some other network friendly format. Netflix and YouTube have shown that compression can make a lot of difference.
If you have the network connection you should certainly check uhuru out
If you have the internet connection and paying DSTV is an issue for you or you cannot find the content you want on DSTV then uhuru is certainly a very viable option. According to their promos the service is also available on iOS, Roku and Apple TV.